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Returning to Germany for Christmas

A Chinese student from the Sun Yat-sen University in China returns to Germany for her PhD studies one year after her semester abroad at the same English Department in Chemnitz

When everyone was making last arrangements for Christmas and getting in a cozy mood, Guo Ya from China was packing her last things and preparing to say Goodbye to her family for several years. After she spent her semester abroad in Chemnitz in 2014/2015, Guo decided to come back to do her PhD with Prof. Josef Schmied in the field of English Studies.
Since she stayed with her parents for three month before her return, it was not hard to say Goodbye. Her first days, however, will be very quiet since everyone is going home or travels on Christmas. Still, Guo was very lucky to arrive just in time for the department Christmas party. Next to enjoying some mulled wine and the German cuisine as well as visiting the medieval market in the center, she could meet two other PhD students, her supervisor and the rest of the English Department staff and experience part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany.

While she had a fixed schedule and list of courses during her master studies, Guo now has to get used to the freedom one has a PhD student. Being free to choose when to do research, when to read or where to collect data, which topic to work on and whether to sleep in or wake up early, can be an advantage, but also a disadvantage. Every PhD student has to find his or her own way and own rhythm in order to complete his or her studies successfully in the end. Guo is fortunate because she is part of a great research team that consists of PhD students from Albania, China, Ghana, Germany, India and Tanzania. Next to her, three other students work on a topic in the field of Chinese Academic Writing. Hence, she can always discuss problems, face challenges and address questions that may come up with them.

The only disadvantage of arriving on Christmas is the fact that, to her surprise, all offices and even the University will be closed for some days and she has to wait until she can get enrolled and gets all the necessary procedures like opening a bank account and registering for health insurance done. In this way, she can at least enjoy her first days in Chemnitz.

(Autorin: Jessica Dheskali)

Mario Steinebach

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